The Whistleblower Protection Law

It was not until 1986 when a law protecting whistleblowers is made. Congress added an anti-retaliation protection to the then existing False Claims Act.

A whistleblower is a person who tells on something he believes is an illegal act. The employees are the most commonly known whistleblower. They tell on their employers which they suspect is doing or committing an illegal act.

Under the Whistleblower Protection Law, the employee should not be discharged, denoted, suspended, threatened or harassed in any form that discriminates the terms and conditions of his employment because of the legal act done by the employee.

The employee may be of aid in many ways possible on the investigation, testimony and the likes. However there are some constraints under the whistleblower protection law.

Reporting illegal acts that are only within the company is a ground for exemption. But still there may be public policies that could protect the employee from retaliation

If it turns out that an employer didn’t actually break a law, the employee is still entitled to whistle blower protection from retaliation, if he reasonably believed that the employer committed an illegal act.The whistleblower protection law does not cover employer retaliation for complaints about personal loathe. Office politics is not to be used as a basis for filing a complaint against the employer and use the whistleblower protection for personal gain.

In order for the employee to be protected from employer retaliation, he may the have a suspected desecration of any Federal Law. But the supposed violation should have provisions that the law violated will protect whistleblowers.

The Whistleblower Federal Law, unlike the False Claims Act, allows the whistleblower to file a lawsuit in a federal court. The Federal Whistleblower Law does not permit the whistleblower to go directly to the court.

The individuals concerned are pursued administratively. These individuals concerned could file a complaint or charge to retaliate with or without a lawyer to represent them. However if the case is not resolved immediately, the administrative law judge may then preside over the only evidentiary hearing that may take place.

A whistleblower should not attempt to delay an investigation of the possible legal remedy. To maintain this ruling, the retaliation should then be brought to the attention of an appropriate government official within 30 days, else the complaint could not be pursued.

Most states have some sort of statutory or common law “whistleblower” or anti-retaliation laws. Like the federal whistleblower laws, not every lawyer will know about these laws, especially laws outside their own state.

These states and the District of Columbia have recognized a public policy exception to the “employment at will doctrine”: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.Some states have explicit statutory protections for whistleblowers. These include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington.

There are also state laws that offer special protections just for their own state or local government employees: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Consumer Law Report Blasts For-Profit Colleges for Private-Label Student Loans

A new report issued in January by the National Consumer Law Center accuses for-profit colleges of saddling their students with unregulated private-label student loans that force these students into high interest rates, excessive debt, and predatory lending terms that make it difficult for these students to succeed.

The report, entitled “Piling It On: The Growth of Proprietary School Loans and the Consequences for Students,” discusses the boom over the past three years in private student loan programs offered directly by schools rather than by third-party lenders. These institutional loans are offered by so-called “proprietary schools” – for-profit colleges, career schools, and vocational training programs.

Federal vs. Private Education Loans

Most loans for students will be one of two types: government-funded federal student loans, guaranteed and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education; or non-federal private student loans, issued by banks, credit unions, and other private-sector lenders. (Some students may also be able to take advantage of state-funded college loans available in some states for resident students.)

Private student loans, unlike federal undergraduate loans, are credit-based loans, requiring the student borrower to have adequate credit history and income, or else a creditworthy co-signer.The Beginnings of Proprietary School Loans

Following the financial crisis in 2008 that was spurred, in part, by the lax lending practices that drove the subprime mortgage boom, lenders across all industries instituted more stringent credit requirements for private consumer loans and lines of credit.

Many private student loan companies stopped offering their loans to students who attend for-profit colleges, as these students have historically had weaker credit profiles and higher default rates than students at nonprofit colleges and universities.

These moves made it difficult for proprietary schools to comply with federal financial aid regulations that require colleges and universities to receive at least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than federal student aid.

To compensate for the withdrawal of private student loan companies from their campuses, some for-profit colleges began to offer proprietary school loans to their students. Proprietary school loans are essentially private-label student loans, issued and funded by the school itself rather than by a third-party lender.

Proprietary Loans as Default Traps

The NCLC report charges that these proprietary school loans contain predatory lending terms, charge high interest rates and large loan origination fees, and have low underwriting standards, which allow students with poor credit histories and insufficient income to borrow significant sums of money that they’re in little position to be able to repay.

In addition, these proprietary loans often require students to make payments while they’re still in school, and the loans can carry very sensitive default provisions. A single late payment can result in a loan default, along with the student’s expulsion from the academic program. Several for-profit schools will withhold transcripts from borrowers whose proprietary loans are in default, making it nearly impossible for these students to resume their studies elsewhere without starting over.

The NCLC report notes that more than half of proprietary college loans go into default and are never repaid.

Recommendations for Reform

Currently, consumers are afforded few protections from proprietary lenders. Proprietary school loans aren’t subject to the federal oversight that regulates credit products originated by most banks and credit unions.

Moreover, some proprietary schools claim that their private student loans aren’t “loans” at all, but rather a form of “consumer financing” – a distinction, NCLC charges, that’s “presumably an effort to evade disclosure requirements such as the federal Truth in Lending Act” as well as a semantic maneuver meant to skirt state banking regulations.

The authors of the NCLC report make a series of recommendations for reforming proprietary school loans. The recommendations advocate for tough federal oversight of both proprietary and private student loans.Among the NCLC’s favored reforms are requirements that private student loan companies and proprietary lenders adhere to federal truth-in-lending laws; regulations that prohibit proprietary loans from counting toward a school’s required percentage of non-federal revenue; implementing tracking of private and proprietary loan debt and default rates in the National Student Loan Data System, which currently tracks only federal education loans; and centralized oversight to ensure that for-profit schools can’t disguise their true default rates on their private-label student loans.

Other proposed reforms the NCLC supports include modification of federal bankruptcy laws and expansion of federal college loan debt relief programs.

The NCLC argues for a modification of current bankruptcy laws that would allow student borrowers to discharge onerous student loan debts in a bankruptcy petition without having to meet the current, nearly-impossible-to-satisfy “undue hardship” tests. Amidst more relaxed bankruptcy rules and strengthened non-bankruptcy alternatives, the NCLC maintains, fewer borrowers would find themselves hopelessly mired in student loan debt.

Benefits of Law Transcription Services

Quality law transcription services ensure an array of benefits for legal professionals and law firms. The significant advantage is that these services enable legal professionals to maintain error-free and updated textual copies of important legal dictations in their practices. These documents can be easily retrieved for reference at any point of time.

Benefits of Law Transcription Services – An Overview

Legal practices and law firms have to manage a series of legal proceedings on a regular basis. Amidst their busy schedule, legal professionals most often might not get enough time to devote for transcription. Entrusting their law documentation tasks to a reliable legal transcription company would allow them to complete the documentation procedures and get the transcripts updated quickly. Well coordinated law transcription services offered by established transcription companies ensure legal practices benefits such as:

Reduce documentation workload: Professional transcription services considerably reduce the documentation workload of legal professionals. These services save precious time and effort, and help them focus more on core processes.• Avoid file backlogs: As the dictations are transcribed by experts on a regular basis, legal practitioners can easily avoid file backlogs.

Save additional expenses: Through outsourcing their core documentation tasks, legal entities can save the huge expenses that would be otherwise required to maintain the infrastructure, resources, manpower and technology to perform the transcription jobs in-house.

Improve efficiency and productivity: Reduced workload considerably enhances the efficiency of legal professionals and their supporting workforce, which would definitely make the practice more professional and productive, and improve its reputation.

Law reports in convenient file formats: Efficient legal transcription services help lawyers and attorneys maintain transcribed law reports in easy-to-use electronic file formats or as hard copies. The records would be kept well-organized and can be easily retrieved as and when needed.

Ideal Transcription Solutions for all Legal Documents

Outsourcing companies strive to deliver quality transcription services that precisely match the specific documentation needs of legal entities. To offer professional law enforcement transcription services in a modern infrastructure, most firms utilize advanced transcription technology, software utilities and services of experienced transcription experts and quality controllers. The transcription specialists in these firms are highly skilled and provide secure and accurate services. They can efficiently handle dictations provided in any file format such as digital audio files, digital video files, audio CDs, micro cassette tapes, cassette tapes, DVDs and more. These experts offer reliable transcription solutions for the following legal documents:

• Legal pleadings
• Law enforcement field dictation
• Memorandum letters
• Court transcripts
• Private investigations
• Depositions
• Hearings
• Client letters
• Interrogations
• Reports
• Wire-taps
• Briefs
• Surveillance reports, and moreExcellent Document Accuracy Rate

Transcription services offered by a reputable legal transcription company ensure your transcribed documents an accuracy rate of 99%. Their professional services also feature:

• Convenient dictation options: Digital recorder dictation, Toll free phone dictation
• Excellent data security and confidentiality
• Electronic signature
• Three level quality assurance
• Transcription management software
• Feeds for EHR or EPM
• Rapid turnaround time
• Affordable pricing up to 40% lower than market rates
• Continuous technical support
• Free trial offer

Outsource to an Established Company

When planning to outsource their law transcription tasks, legal entities must necessarily utilize the services of an established legal transcription company. The services offered by such a firm can assure you many benefits in terms of reliability, quality, pricing structure and instant response.

Legal Placement Services: The Difference Between Court Reporters and Paralegals

Many important professions are involved with legal placement services. Most people know the important ones, such as lawyers, defense attorneys, judges, juries, and others. However, some positions often get confused, those being court reporters and paralegals. Though they both assist law firms in some way, this is where the similarities end. This article will go on to describe the difference, and any additional amount of similarities there might be between court reporters and paralegals.

CourtReporters

The Court Reporting career path is a great choice for people who tend to be more on the shy, introverted side but are great writers. If the person gets uncomfortable around large amounts of people, they should not have to worry about doing so with this position. Besides transcribing the happenings of trials, the other tasks court reporters have that involve interacting with people is limited: swearing in witnesses, reading back parts of the trial, or asking certain people to repeat something if it is unclear. “Swearing in” is the process of reading the witness his or her rights before providing testimony.Court reporters are sometimes called “law reporters,” “shorthand reporters,” or “stenotype operators.” With today’s technology, reporters sometimes require the skills of digital court reporting or voice writing reporting. These are self-explanatory because the reporters record and transcribe the trial at the same time. This may sound easier than it is. The National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) set requirements for reporters to pass typing tests with speeds of 225 words a minute for the United States. This varies by country. This NVRA requirement is often the reason why the dropout rate for this position is very high-nearly 95% for some schools. Training is difficult because it is a very difficult skill to obtain.

Paralegals

While court reporting is a great profession for introverted individuals, paralegals should definitely be more extraverted because it is a people-oriented position. Paralegals have the option of working for a law firm or independently. While most reporters tend to serve some sort of law or government firms (though some do choose to work freelance) most paralegals work independently. While paralegals are involved with some cases-conducting research, drafting documents, working with clients, and managing cases-they are not permitted to provide legal advice to clients directly unless it is permitted by law. One characteristic reporters and paralegals have in common is every state has different laws and certifications that must be completed by both professions, but every state is different.There are some other characteristics paralegals and court reporters have in common, though they are few. These professionals must have excellent written and oral communication skills, though for court reporters it is mostly written skills that are most important. They must be detail-oriented and portray a high sense of professionalism since they are both working with legal placement services and the government. Though the similarities are few, it is still easy to see how these two positions could get confused. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any misunderstandings for those people who are looking into working with legal placement services.

Legal Placement Services: Information Regarding Court Reporters

While most people might not think that The Wild Wild West, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill Hickok might not have anything to do with reporting or legal placement services, in a way they do. What they have in common is their timing, because 1893 was when the first idea of coming up with a national court reporting association (NCRA) came to mind. The idea came to fruition in 1899 in Chicago where the National Shorthand Reporters Association (NSRA) held their first meeting. About the year of 1927, the NSRA set their first code of ethics and allowed women to take a more active role in the profession.

Enough about the history, some people who might be considering this career path might be more curious about the types of court reporters there are and the certifications required. The information below will describe these two pieces of information about court reporters.Types of Court Reporters

A court reporter is often referred to as a shorthand reporter, a law reporter, or a stenotype operator, all of which have the same definition of transcribing the happenings of trials. No matter what the profession is called, there are different career paths the professional can advance toward with the right training. Some of the different types of court reporters that require this training include Registered Professional Reporters (RPR), Registered Merit Reporters (RMR), Registered Diplomat Reporters (RDR), Certified Realtime Reporters (CRR), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), Certified Legal Video Specialists (CLVS), and Certified Program Evaluators (CPE).

Those who think technology would eliminate the profession are obviously wrong because while technology provides a sense of better accuracy those recordings or videos still need to be transcribed. Many court reporters choose to work as freelancers because along with working for law firms, they can work for television companies by transcribing captions for the hearing-impaired.

Types of Required Certifications

The Nationally Recognized Certification has been administered to court reporters since 1937. Additionally, the RPR has replaced the licensing exam (also known as the state certification) in 22 states. As previously mentioned there are many different types of reporters, but some of them are simply different levels of certification:

  1. Registered Professional Reporters (RPR) – The first level of certification that holds about 11,000 certified professionals.
  2. Registered Merit Reporters (RMR) – 2,100 professionals claim this second level certification spot.
  3. Registered Diplomate Reporters (RDR) – 450 have reached this third certification level.

Becoming certified might be challenging with all the different accuracy and type-speed requirements, but it provides a number of benefits. For one, certifications give professionals more opportunities because it shows the professionals’ level of commitment to their profession. It also gives them the opportunity to build their skillset and enhance their credibility.

While the process of becoming a court reporter might be frustrating and challenging, it has its benefits and many different career options. If this article has not provided enough information for professionals who are looking to pursue a career in this profession, the interested professional should contact local legal placement services or NCRA.org for more information.